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Old 04-04-2010, 10:20 AM   #1
DixieGal
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Outside the Box
"Magical" is indeed an apt description. You open that pristine white box and the device fills the entire interior surface, so there is an immediate positive response to the beautiful presentation. Underneath, the USB cable and wall charger adapter are nestled in their compartments. There is no instruction manual, just a glossy card with a photo of the iPad and arrows pointing to the On/Off slider.

The battery charge lasted about 6 hours, 3 times longer than my laptop, but a tiny fraction of what the battery can do in my Sony 505. However, it can be used while plugged into the outlet, which can not be done with a 505.

Pro:
1. The box is sturdy enough to serve as a temporary case. If I were YvanLeTerrible, I would build a wooden case the size of the box and just put the package insert into it in order to hold and cushion the device.

2. No learning curve. One slides the slider and instantly is able to enjoy the device.

Con:
The included USB cable is fine, but compared to my iPod cable, it is thinner and seems less robust. For a device that I will be using while it is charging, I sort of worry about ruining the cable. I tried this great big charger cable that came with Tim's iPod, and it did not work with connecting to the PC, but have not tried it with the charger adapter yet.


iBooks

This free app is essential for reading ebooks, which is our main focus at MobileRead, so I will spend most of this review talking about reading on the iPad. Let me preface my review by stating that I am visually impaired. I have difficulty reading on an eInk screen due to the lack of contrast.

Loading ebooks into iTunes is just like adding MP3's to it. Needlessly tedious. There is no drag-n-drop ability, so the process is touch file menu, add file to library, screen opens and you navigate through your computer to find the file, etc. Then plug in the USB cable and synch them onto your iPad.

Gently touch the iBooks icon, and a wooden bookshelf filled with images of book covers appears. Gently touch any image and it opens to a beautiful bright book cover. Gently swipe your finger across the screen, and you see a page turning - just like I remember with pbooks! Now you see a bright white page with black letters, and suddenly I can read painlessly again!!!!

Features and functions are in a minimally noticeable toolbar. My favorite feature is the zoom, for reasons stated above. The "pinch" that is so magical for internet does not work in iBooks. Therefore, I was a little shaken to see that when I touched the icon for zooming, it shows only a small "A" and a slightly larger "A." I touched the larger "A" and the book's text enlarged slightly. "This is not good," I thought to myself. Flipping the device to landscape did not work for me, the way I always read on my Sony 505. Instead, when you go landscape, the display changes to a 2-page display with the same sized text as in portrait mode. But Wait!! Why not look at the zoom icon again? It turns out that you can keep touching the larger "A" and your text will continue to enlarge. I only enlarged 5 or 6 times, but today plan to find out how big it can be.

In the same icon, you have the menu for fonts. I changed mine to a sans serif font in order to read more easily. I find that serif fonts block some of the white space between letters which decreases contrast.

Turning pages in iBooks is fun. You start out doing whole page wide sweeps, then begin to experiment with smaller sweeps. Finally, you figure out that the smallest possible sweep is about 1/2 inch twitch with your thumb. Or a gentle tap at the edge of the page. HOWEVER, a gentle twitch, such as an involuntary movement of the left thumb, turns that page right back around. This is sort of inconvenient when reading in bed, because you become engrossed in the book and naturally shift your grip. As soon as you move off the black edge and onto the screen, the page turns back. There is nothing but smooth glass for your fingers to feel, no "edge" or "bevel," so it happens quite often for me. I expect to get that muscle memory trained soon and the problem should disappear.

The ePub book shows "page ____ of _____" at the bottom, as well as a percentage. This, like the toolbar, slowly vanishes after a couple of minutes of reading. Nice! After a bit of fumbling with the device, I found that touching what would be the "footer" portion of the page brings back the hidden toolbar, etc.

PDF's get a paragraph of their own. It works beautifully on pdf's from the internet. Also from email, which is important. I can not figure out how to import pdf's into iTunes or iBooks, but I found that I can email them to myself and open them to read. I LOVE the "pinch" and "un-pinch" to zoom! Works like magic.

Pro:
1. Page turns are fun to do.
2. Bright white screen.
3. Easy zoom.
4. Simple to manipulate the look of the text with fonts.

Con:
1. Unintended page turns are annoying.
2. Limited choice of font faces.
3. Smooth surface makes it too easy for fingers to stray from black edge onto white page, and therefore, turning the page you just finished back on screen.
4. PDF's require a bit of jiggering to get them to work, but once I figured it out, I love the way they look.


iWork

Cost $9.99 for each individual app.

My laptop was recently stolen, so I pre-ordered the iPad in the hope of using it as a replacement laptop. For my personal and business needs, I use word processors, spreadsheets, and presentations. The iTunes Store sells apps called Pages (=MS Word), Numbers (=Excel), and Keynote (=Powerpoint). These are big programs, not like the internet apps, so they take about 10 minutes each to download. Gently touch the icon and the app opens with a tutorial. Do the tutorial. There is enough difference between MS and iWork that you will be glad you did the tutorial.

Pro:
1. At a total $30, it is a bargain compared to MS Office.
2. Onscreen keyboard or wireless both work magically. (See keyboard review below)
3. You manipulate text and images by onscreen touches. It is amazing and amazingly simple.

Con:
1. It would be a frustrating thing to hop in without doing the tutorial. However, in 5 minutes, it all makes sense.


Safari

Safari is the iPad's web browser. If you have ever seen or heard about this thing called the "inter-net," then you can do it. There is a blank field to type in the www address and a blank space with a ghostly "Google" in it. Type anything in either box and you will quickly be where you expect to be. Nothing new here.

What is great is the apps. Yes, yes, of course you can surf to CNN for your daily news via Safari, but for free you can download the app. Basically, these apps equate to MS versions of desktop shortcuts. You gently tap the icon and it opens CNN or WSJ, etc.

Your next thought after touching the icon is OMG!! The screen shows a full page, but you do the simple "un-pinch" on any part of the screen, and it zooms to your desired size. Huge improvement over the MS Explorer with it's little zoom thing at the bottom of the screen. Then, you touch the screen again and move the scene around with your finger. Cool!

Pro:
1. No learning curve. It's the internet, nothing complicated.
2. Apps as desktop shortcuts. And you can have pages and pages of apps that you scroll through with the page-turning finger sweeps.
3. The "pinch" and "un-pinch" zooms are magical.

Con:
1. I don't like the way the "bookmarks" menu looks. It is not very tidy.


Photos and Music

What can I say? Bright colorful screen, nice powerful sound (with earphones). Nothing new here if you have used an iPod or iPhone. The iPad is too big to be an MP3 player in your pocket, so I expect a deluge of tabletop speaker docks to flood the market quickly.


Wireless Keyboard

Cost $70.
This thing is more like a piece of scupture than office equipment. It is brushed nickel looking with white keys. It is small, the size of a laptop keyboard. It is incredibly thin and lightweight. It is a piece of metal with keys. Nothing underneath. Very pretty. I had trouble getting it to "pair" with the iPad. The instructions are for a Mac, so I was learning and adapting at the same time. I found the "settings" and experimented.

Here's what works: Turn on the bluetooth. Turn off both the keyboard and iPad. Turn the iPad back on. Push the power button on the keyboard and a tiny green light will start flashing. Let it do this a minute or so, then decide it isn't working. Turn off the keyboard by pushing and holding the power button. Decide you should try it again, and turn the keyboard back on. The green light will flicker 3 or 4 times, and then it is working.

The keyboard makes the onscreen keyboard disappear. The onscreen keyboard automatically comes back when you turn off the power to the keyboard. Remember to do this, because the keyboard is powered by old fashioned AA batteries.

I am typing this review using the keyboard. It seems strange at first because the keys are flat and there is not much for your fingers to recognize as tactile landscapes. This passed quickly and I'm typing fast, probably in the 60 WPM range without difficulty. The keyboard is on my lap and I keep reminding myself that I don't have to punch the keys and to be gentle.

I have this text box into which I am typing "un-pinched" so that it fills the screen. The device is sitting in a lovely black iron picture frame easel which formerly sat on a shelf holding a particularly interesting slice of petrified wood. It is not the kind that folds flat, which would probaby be unstable and tip over. It is a 3-legged easel with curliques of metal, very pretty. So with the easel, it is possible to have the iPad sitting on a little table while I hold the keyboard on my lap.


Photos
I got the free app for Photoshop. It may be a demo, but if it stops working, I'll buy it. For my online jewelry business, I digitally manipulate every single picture. This is standard practice for my business, because we want customers to see as nearly the identical picture of the jewelry as possible, but digital cameras all "adjust" the photo. Therefore, I have to lighten and brighten every photo.

Conclusion
Overall, I am happier with my iPad than I anticipated - and my anticipation was pretty high to begin with. Using it to replace my recently stolen laptop was a question mark for me, but it turns out that the iPad will fill this need nicely.

As an ebook reader, it is magical.
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:23 AM   #2
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Loading ebooks into iTunes is just like adding MP3's to it. Needlessly tedious. There is no drag-n-drop ability, so the process is touch file menu, add file to library, screen opens and you navigate through your computer to find the file, etc. Then plug in the USB cable and synch them onto your iPad.
Thank you for the excellent review.

A small question, if I may. You say in the quote above that loading books into iTunes is just like adding MP3s. You can add MP3s with "drag and drop" from Windows Explorer - can you really not do so with ePub files?
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:43 AM   #3
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The battery charge lasted about 6 hours, 3 times longer than my laptop, but a tiny fraction of what the battery can do in my Sony 505. However, it can be used while plugged into the outlet, which can not be done with a 505.
Nice review overall, but this bit about the sony isn't entirely correct, it's only when you are charging via usb that you can't also use the device, you can use it just fine when charging using an ac adaptor.
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:56 AM   #4
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Epubs can be simply dropped into the books section of iTunes... Very easy.
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:04 AM   #5
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Thank you for the excellent review.

A small question, if I may. You say in the quote above that loading books into iTunes is just like adding MP3s. You can add MP3s with "drag and drop" from Windows Explorer - can you really not do so with ePub files?
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Epubs can be simply dropped into the books section of iTunes... Very easy.
Thanks, guys. I've never been able to do that, so I'll check my settings.
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:06 AM   #6
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Nice review overall, but this bit about the sony isn't entirely correct, it's only when you are charging via usb that you can't also use the device, you can use it just fine when charging using an ac adaptor.
I never used a wall charger so this is news to me. Thanks!
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Old 04-04-2010, 12:12 PM   #7
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Thanks, guys. I've never been able to do that, so I'll check my settings.
You're probably dropping the files onto the wrong part of the iTunes window. You need to drop them onto the part of the window that shows track names; it doesn't work if you drop onto the artist or album name lists.
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Old 04-04-2010, 01:49 PM   #8
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The battery charge lasted about 6 hours, 3 times longer than my laptop, but a tiny fraction of what the battery can do in my Sony 505. However, it can be used while plugged into the outlet, which can not be done with a 505.
Was this after being fully charged by you, or how it came from the factory? All other reviews I read, people have attained around or exceeded the 10 hour claim.
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Old 04-04-2010, 01:49 PM   #9
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My girlfriend caved and bought an 32GB iPad yesterd and we played around with it a lot last night and this morning and I really like it. It's very slick device.

While it is really a big iPhone, the bigger screen makes a TON of difference. I was never very enamored with the iPhone/iPod Touch as the screens just too small to read, surf the net, watch video etc. With the iPad, that's not an issue and it's great at all those tasks.

Some impressions by area:

Web Surfing

It's a damn good "surf the net on the couch" machine. Drawbacks are lack of flash and no keyboard so forums are out. But I prefer sitting and reading news etc. on it vs. my laptop as the form factor is much better for that.

Lack of Flash is the big downer, but sites like ESPN I expected not to work did--videos even played. Did run into some videos that wouldn't play, and of course some facebook games that wouldn't work obviously etc. But it wasn't as big a drawback as I was expecting.

Video

Youtube, the ABC.com episode player and the Netflix streaming app all worked great. Fast, great picture quality etc.

Reading

The ibooks app is very slick. The Kindle app isn't as slick, but still very good. Turn down the brightness and it's very easy on the eyes. It's not e-ink, so people who read for hours on end should stick with their Kindle's etc., but I could give up my Kindle for an iPad for reading for sure since I seldom read for more than an hour at a time, and didn't notice much eye strain reading on here both in these apps, apps like USA Today and NY Times etc.

PDFs

Took a while to figure out how to get PDFs on the device. My g/f bought the 99 cent Good Reader program and we figured out how to drag and drop PDFs into it in iTunes, as well as how to download them from safari (let it load, then type a "g" in front of the web address--in front of http: and it will download it into good reader).

The program works very well and PDFs are very readable. As expected 2 column letter sized pdfs are pretty small too read in portrait. Landscape mode fixes that and the scrolling isn't as annoying as I thought since it's fast and smooth compared to scrolling on a laptop etc.

The iAnnotate program looks great as well, but my g/f hasn't bought it as she didn't want to spend $7 on it right now as she doesn't care as much about annotating as I do and wants to wait a bit and see if more apps come out etc. But it looks promising for my needs.

Other documents

She downloaded the Pages app. Works well for reading word docs. Can type too, but a pain without a keyboard. Can export to word, text and pdf.

Comics

Tried out the Marvel app. I'm not a comic fan but wanted to see how they looked. In a word comics look pretty stunning.


Overall, I'm very impressed. Very slick device. Battery life seems as good or better than advertised. Battery is a 10 percent after at least 10 hours of us both playing around with it yesterday and today with lots of net use, video, downloading etc. A related downside is that it doesn't seem to charge on PCs when hooked up via USB, but apparently will when hooked up to Macs. But no biggie as I prefer wall chargers--one thing I hate about the iPod Nano I bought a couple weeks ago is having to charge via USB, or shellout for a wall charge--which it had came with one.

But in all a very slick device and I may pick one up down the road. But I'll still wait a while and see what comes out from competitors, what apps show up, maybe wait for the 2nd gen model etc. At least until fall as I need to save money for the summer, being an academic I have a couple unpaid months unless I land a grant soon, as well as some travel planned.

But for people on the fence leaning strongly toward buying one--go for it!

Last edited by dmaul1114; 04-04-2010 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 04-04-2010, 04:40 PM   #10
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Loading ebooks into iTunes is just like adding MP3's to it. Needlessly tedious. There is no drag-n-drop ability, so the process is touch file menu, add file to library, screen opens and you navigate through your computer to find the file, etc. Then plug in the USB cable and synch them onto your iPad.
Congratulations to your ipad, i from europe can't wait to get one myself.
As to epub import, you can drag and drop your complete ebook folder (as long as it contains epubs) into itunes, and all epubs are in the book section.
I tested it with itunes 9.1 myself. Unfortunatly thats about all i can do for now
Have fun!
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Old 04-04-2010, 06:06 PM   #11
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1. The box is sturdy enough to serve as a temporary case. If I were YvanLeTerrible, I would build a wooden case the size of the box and just put the package insert into it in order to hold and cushion the device.


Conclusion
Overall, I am happier with my iPad than I anticipated - and my anticipation was pretty high to begin with. Using it to replace my recently stolen laptop was a question mark for me, but it turns out that the iPad will fill this need nicely.

As an ebook reader, it is magical.
Hey, congratulations DGal!
How'd'you know I was planning a box?
Is there a possiblilty you could sent me that package insert? Kidding!!!
I'm planning on getting the 3G when it comes here. Since I'm injured and in bed I can afford to wait...

My box will look like the file suitcases in System7; if you've ever seen them. I'll make it out of birch veneered with applewood and it will have an Apple logo on the top flap... It's just a proto in my head so far...
Thank you very much for the review DGal. Its every much as I thought as it would be...
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Old 04-04-2010, 06:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DixieGal View Post
Loading ebooks into iTunes is just like adding MP3's to it. Needlessly tedious. There is no drag-n-drop ability, so the process is touch file menu, add file to library, screen opens and you navigate through your computer to find the file, etc. Then plug in the USB cable and synch them onto your iPad.
DG,

Actually this isn't tedious.

there are 3 ways you could do this faster...

1. You can drag and drop one or more files. I used my Mac... you just drag the file(s) to the library in the left panel.

2. If you use "add to library" menu option you can select more than one file at a time.

3. If you use "add to library" menu you can also select a folder and it will bring in all the file types it supports.

BOb
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:25 PM   #13
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A shorter review than above after playing around with it some more.

My simplified review after playing around with my girlfriend's some more.

It's a fantastic media consumption device. Outstanding for reading newspapers, comics, books, surfing the net (reading, not forum posting or other typing intensive tasks), watching streaming video etc. I'd much rather use it for that stuff that my laptop as the form factor is just better for doing that stuff on the couch, in bed, at the breakfast table (read the news this morning etc.).

I really like it as a reader, being a more casual reader the brightness, weight etc. don't bother me and I actually think I prefer reading on it than my Kindle (read on both last night).

But it's a bit lacking as a productivity tool to use for work, research etc. It's do able, but it really needs a full file management system, easier/more consistent drag and drop options for loading files (even if it has to be in iTunes). I'd also like a screen an inch or two bigger as that would make a lot of difference for PDFs, word docs etc. in portrait mode.

But it's a damn slick device. If it was a couple hundred bucks cheaper I'd buy one right now for sure. But as is I'd rather wait and see what comes out in the 2nd gen, Android tablets etc. to see if I can get something that comes close to matching it's media consumption abilities, battery life, form factor etc. that is also more robust in terms of file management, productivity software etc. (i.e. something a tad more closer to a computer).
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:49 PM   #14
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But as is I'd rather wait and see what comes out in the 2nd gen, Android tablets etc. to see if I can get something that comes close to matching it's media consumption abilities, battery life, form factor etc. that is also more robust in terms of file management, productivity software etc. (i.e. something a tad more closer to a computer).
I don't know much about Android and I'd like to know more but there are so many places... What site would you recommend me for a more acurate review of Android features in general?
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:55 PM   #15
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I don't know much about Android and I'd like to know more but there are so many places... What site would you recommend me for a more acurate review of Android features in general?
I honestly don't know much of anything about it either, so maybe someone else can provide some links to help us both?

I just understand that on the phones they're much more open, so the tablets should follow suit.

I don't think the review and block apps, I believe they have a file management system etc., which is why my eye is on them.

Obviously a windows 7 tablet would be the best in those regard, but I don't see those getting the battery life, heat etc. on par with the iPad anytime soon. While Android probably can since the phones compare favorably to the iPhone on battery life etc. from what I've seen.
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